And here we are. Another year, another college football star possibly losing eligibility over accepting a minuscule amount of money for his stardom. But this isn’t just any star; it’s last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Let’s get it over with, USA Today:
Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel’s future college eligibility could be in question following an ESPN Outside The Linesreport Sunday that the Texas A&M quarterback accepted thousands of dollars for signing memorabilia earlier this year.
The report says Manziel agreed to a “five-figure flat fee” with an autograph broker named Drew Tieman for signing memorabilia during Manziel’s visit to the site of the 2013 BCS Championship game in January. The report cites two witnesses saying they saw Manziel sign the products but did not see money exchange hands.
Johnny Manziel has had a tumultuous few months since winning the Heisman. Part of the scrutiny is his fault for not working harder to keep a lower profile, but a good chunk of the reason Manziel has been under so much scrutiny is the fact the NCAA stands to make a huge profit from his superstardom. Imagine how many people would tune into Manziel’s first game back. Personally, this whole situation makes me sick. And here’s why.
1. Texas A&M has made $37 million in media exposure thanks to Johnny Football. Manziel can’t even make money on the side by signing his own damn name. However, just last year Aggieland Outfitters made $18,000 in scholarship money for one helmet signed by Manziel.
2. ESPN has been running Manziel stories at the top of their news cycles for the better part of the down sports summer, adding to the microscope on the 20-year-old. Now, they’re the outlet who first broke the story of him allegedly accepting the money, threatening his college career.
3. The NCAA just threw Manziel to the wolves after his Heisman trophy victory. No player has won the award this young, especially in the social media era. Instead of working to stay ahead of stories and get them buried, they let the media circus go wild over Johnny Football. Why? Because there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
4. Again, even if you don’t pay the players, they should at least be allowed to profit from their own f*cking names. If NCAA athletes can sue EA for using their likenesses, shouldn’t they be allowed to sue the schools for using their signatures?
5. If Manziel did accept money for his autographs, he’s an idiot. Sure, the rule is stupid, but breaking it in his position is stupider.
6. Drew Tieman, the “autograph broker” is a slime ball. If he did indeed get Manziel to sign autographs for money then he’s a thief. Do guys like him get jail time? He’s pathetic.
7. If Manziel doesn’t get to play another college football game, then it’s going to be really difficult to see him ever making it in the NFL. His size made him an outside shot but missing his sophomore year makes it virtually impossible he’ll get looks by NFL teams early in the draft.
All in all, this is a sh*tty situation from a sh*tty institution with sh*tty rules. And it probably won’t change. Ever.